Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Old School

Well, I finally did it...I'm going back to school. Kind of. Actually, I'm going back to get a taste and see if it's really for me at this point in my life. I'm tired of my current position at work, tired of being overlooked for other positions due to "lack of experience", and tired of doing nothing about it. So I decided to do something about it. Whether this is the right step for me now remains to be seen, but at least I'm moving, which, for me, is half the battle.

I'm starting back on the community college circuit, which feels totally bizarre. I'm also starting a week late...yesterday was the deadline for registration. I'm a procrastinator and couldn't decide whether or not I wanted to take classes again. Some days I did; most days I didn't. But the thought of wasting any more time sprung me to action. The thing that ultimately held me back: laziness. Pima Community College requires that all "new students" register for the first time in person. After that, it's all online. I had to drag my aging butt to one of the campuses, roughly a ten minute drive from my house, to register for a single, measly class. I didn't want to do that. I wanted to register for my class from the comfort of my keyboard. So I waited. 'Till the last possible moment. Which was yesterday morning.

I slid into the car and made the ten minute trip to Pima's East Campus, and, amazingly, found a great parking spot in the lot directly outside of the Student Center. It must be a sign. I grabbed my paperwork and my book, in case I had to wait in a long line of students desiring to make last minute class changes. No such thing. I found my line, which consisted of two whipper-snappers with their ball caps slightly askew and their jeans one ass-hair away from dropping to the floor. Actually these gentlemen looked so young that I wondered if they even had ass-hair yet. I then scrubbed those thoughts from my mind and waited for my turn which came a minute later when the young lady behind the computer monitor looked at me and, in her best Barbie Cheerleader impersonation, said, "Next."

"Hi, I'd like to register for a class."

"Are you a new student?"

"Well, I'm not a new student, per se, but I am new to Pi..."

"Ookaay, what I'm going to need you to do is to sign in to see an adviser, and they will arrange for you to attend a New Student Orientation as well as any placement assessments you might need. Have you taken your assessments yet?"
I felt like I was in an episode of the Twilight Zone. ", I don't really need to take an assessment or see an adviser," I protested. "I already have my degree," take THAT you little cupcake, "I just want to take some supplemental courses."

But Barbie Cheerleader, with her exterior plastic coating, absorbed the blow and responded unscathed. "Even so, we require all incoming students to meet with an adviser to determine all educational requirements before registering." Barbie Cheerleader 1, Me 0. I stepped to the to the touch-screen monitor to my left, entered my name for an adviser appointment, and retreated to the waiting area with my book. Stupid Barbie Cheerleader.

After a short time I heard my name called and I looked up to see a woman's head peeking over the cubicle wall, which was bizarre because the cubicles were barely four feet high. I stood and was greeted by an almost perfectly round woman wearing thick black Harry Potter glasses. We'll call her Ramona. She directed me to a chair in her cubicle and we sat down.

"So what are we doing?" Ramona cut to the chase.

"I'd like to register for a class."

"So what's your deal. You a new student? Returning student?"

Ramona needed some serious adviser/advisee etiquette retraining. Still, I liked her. She was a straight shooter, and for me at this point, cutting through any red tape and B.S. was a good thing. I decided to launch a preemptive strike on the rest of her interrogation. "I have a degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Illinois. I graduated in 1991. I am currently working in television and would like to take some courses to supplement my position and help me move along in my career. I'm not sure at this point if schooling is the answer, so I just want to start off slow and see how it goes."

Ramona detected the edge in my tone and grinned. It seemed like she enjoyed people who dispensed with the B.S. as well. "Career change, eh. So what course you wanna take?" With a few keystrokes, Ramona had me registered for my first class in nearly twenty years. "Yeah, we used to ask for verification of high school graduation, college transcripts, that sort of stuff, but we don't do that anymore. Only if you want to apply to a program. Okay, you're set."

I really liked Ramona. She wished me well on my semester, and I laughed and thanked her as I rejoined the line to register for my class. Thankfully, Cheerleader Barbie was on a break and I completed my registration with a tattooed young man who kept calling me "Sir". School starts tomorrow morning.

Wish me luck.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for making me laugh out loud. Now if you can just find the right notebook to write all your class notes in you should be set to go!!!

the battered ham said...


Thanks, Hon. You're frickin' hilarious.

Kim said...

good luck....what class are you taking? A real class, or something like the history of music or outdoor ed? Just wondering.

the battered ham said...

Thank you. I think it's a real class, but it sounds like a Basket Weaving 101 blow off class. I'm taking Intro to Digital Arts, which is basically a history and critical analysis of media. Some of it will be old hat for me, but technology has changed so much in the past 15 years that I hope I'll be able to glean something from this class. We'll see. Thanks for reading!